The Voice Episode 2.03: ‘The Blind Auditions, Part 3’ Recap

Posted on February 14, 2012


The Voice Titles

Summary: The third night of the Blind Auditions offers a wide variety of styles and lives up to its claim of being all about the voice.

** Note: Review contains spoilers if you have not seen the episode.**

KSiteTVNight 3 of The Voice opens with a well-done recap of the previous contestants who have been selected to various judges teams and some nice insight into each judge’s styles in picking their teams this season. I much preferred this to the out-of-place judges’ performance last week.

It also featured one of the more eclectic mixes of voices and styles in one episode you’re going to see out of a talent competition. In many ways it was more compelling and entertaining than the 3-1/2 hour affair of The Grammys the night before, especially when you look at a pairing like Rihanna and Coldplay and spend their time on-stage wondering why.

The show didn’t waste much time getting to the talent, so neither will we…

Sarah Golden, Lady Gaga’s “You and I”
They kick off the evening really stressing the intended edict of the show that it’s “all about the voice” by hiding Sarah’s appearance from us in dark and out-of-focus camerawork. She talked about trying to make inroads in the industry but constantly being told that she has to work on her image. The reality, though, is that she’s a bit plain jane but she’s got a winning smile and talent to back up her desires. I found it very intriguing – as did Cee Lo – that she thinks of herself as a folk singer given her country-rock styled performance. Her individual phrasing is what really sold me on her, making the ubiquitous Gaga hit her own, but also relaying a nice simplicity and directness. Blake referred to it as “honest” and I think it made her stand out.
Chosen: Team Cee Lo

Elley Duhe, Duffy’s “Mercy”
I was a bit lost about this blonde Mississippian’s age as at the beginning they seemed to state she was 17 but she answered Christina that she was 19. In either case, she came across a bit young, the chipmunk cheeks and bangs probably adding to that. She had a great attitude, though, and was so fantastically nice that I wish I liked her voice a bit more. It had a bit too much of a “bubble gum” quality to, She also seemed to struggle with enough breath to sustain the long drawn-out notes, which was unfortunate while taking on Duffy’s song. Still, she said she’d only been singing for about 4 years; some vocal work and little more life experience will probably do her well.
Chosen: No one

Pip, The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun”
So I have to admit a bit of unfairness with this one. “House of the Rising Sun” is one of my all-time favorite songs and when you come out and nail it the way Pip did, I’m gonna champion your team for a long time. The song was last prominently heard in this kind of setting during the last season of American Idol when Haley Reinhart fiercely presented it in almost a defiance of the judges. (I was not a Haley fan but that was a performance I couldn’t deny.) I was a bit hesitant to hear it again, especially given Pip’s fresh-face and braces & bowtie style. Also, he came from such a strong musical theatre background, I had a feeling it was going to be too “stagey”, but it was far from theatrical. He has a bit of a young quality to his voice but the way he commanded the song was with professional, lived-in style, what Cee Lo stated as an “old soul”. Don’t know if his soul is old but his voice has more experience than he appears to.
Chosen: Team Adam

Erin Willett, The Jacksons’ “I Want You Back”
The one thing that jumped out at me – and I’m sure it’s why three of the judges/coaches didn’t turn around – is that she needs a little bit of variation in her presentation. That’s about the only negative I can say about Erin who brought tremendous energy and skill to the stage. Her full voice had a terrific soulful quality to it that bowled over the audience. While I normally wouldn’t champion getting behind what the audience is responding to – something both Blake and Christina have admitted to paying more attention to this year – you can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that she was connecting with near everyone.
Chosen: Team Blake

David Grace, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”
The down-home former football player and coach found himself victim to the rather high degree of quality of contestants that the show gets. Personally, I actually liked his rendition of the country-rock classic. It felt like he took ownership of it and, while it was completely reinvented, he added enough of his own quirks to it to make it an individual take. I have to commend him for that alone as the song itself is so well known that it kind of works against him from the start. Blake didn’t care for his “dips” in the notes and Adam wasn’t sold on the “sliding” style of his phrasing, but there’s were things that stood out for me. You run into trouble, though, because people are so used to hearing a song a certain way – Blake was trying to sing along – that making it your own can push them out. Unfortunately, that’s what happened here.
Chosen: No one

Katrina Parker, Joan Osborne’s “One of Us”
Just like David Grace, the unassuming underwriting assistant somewhat saddled herself with a song that is so known and so specifically known by its original artist that it worked a bit against her. It didn’t help that she started out nervous, which had her singing a bit fast and ahead of the tune to start. Soon as she hit the chorus, she brought it back but it swung a little too far the other way, now getting behind the tune and oddly dragging out a few of the words. Just as quickly, she snapped back and finished the song with an overall nice version. There is a lovely ashen quality to the back of her voice that gives it a very specific dynamic that I’m waiting to see on other styles and genres.
Chosen: Team Adam

Geoff McBride, Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground”
Here again, a song so well known the degree of difficulty is very high, something Adam commented on with Geoff. And he not only played to the entire room but took the whole room down. There’s a brightness to Geoff’s voice, matching his personality, but there are shades to it that give it depth and character. They also give it funk and soul and he tore into the song like a well-cooked steak. There’s not much to say about Geoff because he owned his spot on a team from note one.
Chosen: Team Christina

Erin Martin, Plain White T’s’ “Hey There Delilah”
I am like Adam in regard to this former model in that I’m not quote sure what to make of her voice and find that a tad scary. I have to wonder how it will translate to other songs and it is pretty clear to see why the record labels that have come to the various singing showcases she’s been a part of in the past told her that she needed developing. But there is such a confidence, not just in her voice but in herself that, coupled with her bubbly attitude, makes for a compelling winsome package. She also has superb stage presence; I’m sure brought on from her years on the runway. It’s hard to say whether she’ll succeed or go far in this competition but she’s going to be a fun aspect of it.
Chosen: Team Cee Lo

James Massone, Drake’s “Find Your Love”
The body shop worker from Boston is a little bit of a headscratcher. Every one of the judges to a person was bowled over by how his voice didn’t appear to match his look – or his race, if you want to get technical. For me, though there was a consistency to his voice akin to smoothness, his voice was a bit nasally. In a way, it felt like he was a throwback to the ’90s R&B and boy band explosion and his high school senior look, though he’s 23, all but enforced that. There’s enough about it to fit in with the current scene, though I’m hesitant to see much versatility out of him.
Chosen: Team Cee Lo

Winter Rae, Rihanna’s “Take a Bow”
How could one not like the contrast of the punk-style – blue hair with a partially shaved head – with the musical leanings of Winter? At the same time, how could one not roll their eyes when she both name-dropped celebrity blogger Perez Hilton and then he showed up at her audition? (I get the support of friends but it seemed a bit calculated.) The unfortunate thing with Winter is that those two things became the most notable aspects of her time on the show. Though she didn’t seem to have any problem singing to the room, something that would seem a given in a competition but seems to be more rare than one would expect, there wasn’t much that she brought to the song to either qualify her voice or demonstrate enough personality. Like Christina, I was left wanting throughout, which made her range seem limited.
Chosen: No one

Chris Cauley, Bruno Mars’ “Grenade”
Look, Grammy nod or not, I just can’t ever take the song “Grenade” seriously. Don’t get me wrong. I like Bruno Mars, but the song is just too silly for me. That’s why I was both drawn in and all the more impressed with Chris Cauley’s slow arrangement and soft jazz mood of the song. Like David Grace, here’s another one that I thought all of the judges would be scrambling after instead of just two turning around. Not only was the groove slick but he had a fabulous tone that helped to make the silly lyrics more legitimate. On top of it all, he was having fun, leading to one of the best laughs of the night when he told Adam and Cee Lo they would have to arm wrestle to get the chance to work with him. Looking forward to what else he’s going to bring.
Chosen: Team Adam

Nathan Parrett, The Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker”
Brian Fuente, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals’ “Paris (Ooh La La)”
Moses Stone, Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get It Started”
One of the things both Christina and Blake have stressed for this season is the idea of being pickier about their selections. As a result, it’s taking them longer to turn around for some of the artists, if they turn around at all. This also leads to longer discussions as each tries to campaign with each of their selected artists to be picked as a coach over the others. Limited by the running time of the episode, we were treated to a montage of these three singers that gave us little to no connection with any of them, which seemed particularly odd in the case of Moses Stone who they made extra effort to point out that he was the first MC to appear on the show. Thankfully, we were most spared from “The Joker” as that’s a song I really can’t stand.
Chosen: Nathan – Team Adam, Brian – Team Blake, Moses – Team Christina

Jordis Unga, Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Maybe I’m Amazed”
First off, shame, Twitterlings. There was a trending topic earlier today coming off the Grammys last night called “Who is Paul McCartney”. Sadly, it didn’t appear to be either ironic or tongue-in-cheek. Learn and respect your musical history, kids, just as Jordis did here. What an absolutely fabulous cap to the evening. Powerful and full-throated, Jordis burned the stage down with a knockout performance of a rather difficult rock song. Trying to match Paul’s screeching falsetto has felled many a would-be rock star but Jordis handled it with aplomb. I loved how she would physically get low, practically sitting on her heels at various points to push those notes out. She was swinging for the fences and took it out of the park. I anxiously await how she wraps that rock rasp around other genres.
Chosen: Team Blake

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